FCRC Awards Dredge Bid, Now Seeks $12.89 (per cubic yard)

FULTON, NY – The bid for $118,965.20 to begin dredging Lake Neatahwanta was awarded to an Illinois firm on Tuesday and the contract assures removal of the first 10,000 cubic yards of silt by mid-September. Joe Fiumara, director of the Fulton Community Revitalization Corp. (FCRC) outlined the scope of the project before the request for proposal bids were opened on Aug. 8.

Lake Neatahwanta sludge core samples taken last year. (Photo courtesy Doug Chapman.)
Lake Neatahwanta sludge core samples taken last year. (Photo courtesy Doug Chapman.)

Groh Dredging & Marine Construction provided the low bid. Mobile Dredging and Pumping Company submitted the other bid which came in at $327,200.

The FCRC is the governing body of the lake clean up and approved Groh’s contract on Monday (Aug. 11).

“We put this out for bids two weeks ago,” Fiumara said. “We received the DEC permit on Friday, July 25, and we went out with requests for proposal via email and hard mail later that afternoon to 14 different companies in total – nine that day and an additional five from the Syracuse Builders Exchange and a couple other places.”

He said nine people actually took the bid packets and met with members of the FCRC and city officials.

“They came here, flew here, and met at the lake,” the director said. “We showed them our grid system and what we wanted to do.”

For the purpose of bidding, a grid of 300 feet x 300 feet squares has been overlaid on a map of the lake with the first six zones along the shoreline numbered one to six running south to north.

Those areas would be the first slated to be dredged.

Fiumara said in addition to the one lump-sum price for 10,000 cubic yards beginning with the first grid the contract includes enough geotubes with environmentally friendly polymers used to coagulate the material.

Fiumara and Mayor Ron Woodward explained that unlike the Onondaga Lake dredging project where the dredged material was stored in open settling ponds, the Lake Neatahwanta silt would be pumped into geotubes and stored onshore.

Once completely dewatered, Woodward said the geotube material would be cut away and could be used as a water barrier under pavement and other construction projects.

Groh Dredging & Marine  web page showing geotubes.
Groh Dredging & Marine web page showing geotubes.

“There won’t be any odor,” Fiumara said. “That’s why we chose to do the geotubes. We know in the dredging from Onondaga Lake, they were shipping a lot of that dredged material – off site – about a mile-and-a-half away. … One of their biggest issues is that they were pumping into silt ponds, letting it dry out, then removing the material.”

“During the dry out period is when they were getting a lot of the odor. And the ponds happened to be positioned where a west wind would carry the smell right into the village of Camillus,” Fiumara explained.

Common Council President and FCRC member Dan Knopp added that the material to be dredged from Lake Neatahwanta does not contain the same heavy metals that were found in Onondaga Lake.

The RFP also requested a bid for a per cubic yard price up to 50,000 cubic yards in the first six grids.

Groh bid $12.89 per cubic yard. “Now, one of the most important things on the bid sheet is also when they could complete that phase, up to the 60,000 cubic yards total,” Fiumara said.

“They had to put a date on there when it would be complete.

We didn’t want is somebody that couldn’t start until October or November. That’s not what we’re trying to do.”

Groh’s bid assures completion of the first phase within 30 days of bid acceptance.

“What we’d like to do now, we’d like to contact some of our local corporations and see if we can do a fundraising/donation campaign to see if we can get as much done as we possibly can while we have him here,” Fiumara said, then added, “The more money the FCRC has available, once the initial 10,000 cubic yards is dredged, any new money raised could be spent on a $12.89 per-cubic-yard basis for as long as Groh is available or until the end of the season.”

Fiumara projected that, with enough money to complete all six grids the first stage of the project could be complete in around 84 days.

“We could almost fit that all in before the bad weather got here,” he said.

The RFP required a summary of past experience of similar dredging projects.

There was no bid bond or performance bond required but there was prevailing wages requirement on this project.

With only two bids returned, Fiumara said one issue was the FCRC’s timing due to the delayed permit process.

“It is so late in the season that many companies are already mobilized on other projects,” the director said. “A lot were waiting to hear from bids right in this two-week period. We actually lost two of the bidding companies Aug. 6 because they were awarded other projects.”

Woodward noted that companies would not bid until the DEC permits were issued. “No one wanted to waste their time bidding on a project that might not be approved,” the mayor said.

Along with the DEC permit, the Army Corps of Engineers has issued a letter of approval.

The FCRC was required to provide a copy of Groh’s bid to the state for approval since the state awarded a grant of $100,000 to get the project underway.

In the interest of time Fiumara said he had already vetted the bidders prior to the opening of the RFP’s, “to be sure they’re not on the state’s debarred list.”

Correction: The amount of the approved bid was incorrectly reported in the original posting of this article due to reporter error. My apologies. ~jlr


  1. Only two bids submitted and the low bid is roughly $210,000 below the only other bid?!? Hmmmm… Smells fishy to me, you get what you pay for. I sure hope some the proper due-diligence has been done here.

  2. The first 10,000 cubic yards represents a square footage of 1,111. There are 43,560 square feet in an acre. The lake is 750 acres. Therefore, the first stage will be one-29,405th of the lake. To dredge the lake to an oligotrophic state (it is presently eutrophic) will require lowering the lake bottom to an average depth of 12 feet, or 4 times deeper than the first stage. Therefore the cost to restore the lake is 4X29,405= 117,623 X $12.89=$1,516,000 (one million, five hundred and sixteen thousand dollars). We will know when this has occurred because Tannery Creek will have ten times it’s’ current outflow.

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